[dropcap size=small]C[/dropcap]razy Taxi: City Rush is a remake of the classic game by Sega for iOS and Android, with a generous update. The title caught me one day while I was feeling nostalgic, and being free, I thought, “Why not? What could possibly happen?” Well, hours of train rides and an angry girlfriend later, I was throughly impressed with the game.
For those of you potentially *ahem* younger readers, the premise of the game is simple: Pick up passengers, get them to their destination before time runs out, and do it with a certain amount of ‘crazy’ style to earn a few extra bucks each fare. Upon that simple idea, a fantastic mobile game is built. Each mission consists of anywhere from 3 to 6 stops, varying degrees of traffic, and knowing your way around the city’s various hazards. There are also special missions to complete with your Facebook friends, and one that includes driving a tank and trying to smash/blow up as many cars as possible in a time limit.
Gameplay is fantastic. The controls are easy enough to pick up with their swiping, tapping, and pressing, akin to any iteration of a ‘Temple Run’ style of game. You have your faithful green arrows leading you on the safe path, but feel free to deviate from those if you know a shortcut and are feelin’ fancy. Animations are smooth and the graphics, while not mind blowing, are true to the classic Crazy Taxi aesthetic. As you progress through different areas of the game, you’ll find your reflexes to dodge traffic and hazards becoming increasingly more important.
Progression is where the replay value lies in this game. In all, there are 4 areas of the game: Downtown, Beach, Uptown, and Hills. Each area increases the amount of traffic and the types of hazards you will face. Downtown is available to you in the beginning, but you must complete 7 ‘HQ Missions’ in order to move on to the next area. On top of the HQ Missions, each area has your standard fares that you complete in order to earn enough cash to upgrade the different parts of your cab: ‘Tires’ reduce the amount of tire spin when taking of from a dead stop, ‘Frame’ decreases the amount crashing into other cars slows you down, ‘Engine’ increases your top speed, ‘Boost Capacity’ increases how many boosts your taxi can hold, and ‘Boost Power’ increases the power of said boosts (duh). Chances are you’ll need to upgrade your taxi to max in all of these areas in order to complete the increasingly difficult HQ Missions. You also have the ability to spend your hard earned cash on the robust selection of customizations which increase your ‘Ride Bonus’, an extra stack of cash you earn at the end of each completed mission, while making your taxi look as ridiculous as possible. To top it off, after you unlock a new area, you are given a large amount of money to spend on a better, brand new cab and begin your upgrade process from scratch, reevaluating which parts you’ll need to upgrade first to complete each mission. Don’t worry, you can still put all your fancy do-dads on the new cab that were on the old one to keep your ride bonus high.
Beyond this, music is modern pop-punk and is fitting enough to listen to. It was nice to see the spirit of the original game still alive in the music selection. But you also have the ability to create playlists and blast your own tunes from the music on your phone.
The only drawback with Crazy Taxi: City Rush is that it feels like it’s selling out with its gimmicks. Which is completely unnecessary, the game stands great alone. A current example of this is the ‘Hulkmania Takeover’ shtick. Every time you open the game you have to listen to Hulk Hogan say, “You WILL feel the power of the pythons, brother.” Which is slightly disturbing on a few levels. But this is easily forgiven once you’re in the game and having a blast.
As a free game, if you’re a fan of Crazy Taxi or mobile device driving games in general, Crazy Taxi: City Rush is absolutely worth some of your time.